PCG Leadership Wraps Up Successful Washington Visit

LUBBOCK, October 1, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Twofull days of walking the halls of Congress and USDA provided the officers ofPlains Cotton Growers the opportunity to sit down and put a High Plains face onseveral issues affecting cotton.

      PCGPresident Rickey Bearden led the High Plains group. The PCG contingentincluded, PCG Chairman Mark Williams, Vice President Mike Hughes, SecretaryBarry Evans and PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett.

      Atthe top of the list has been communicating the importance of the proposedagriculture disaster provision included by the Senate as part of the FY05Homeland Security appropriations bill. The Senate provision would provide some$3 billion in crop loss assistance to growers impacted by adverse weather ineither 2003 or 2004, but not both.

      TheSenate package would target a truly meaningful level of assistance to producerswho suffered crop and livestock losses as a result of the 2004 hurricanes thathave ravaged Florida and parts of the Southeast. The program would also providehelp to agricultural producers in other parts of the country that were hard hitin 2003 by adverse weather including drought and hail.

      Itappears the fate of the agriculture assistance provision lies in the hands ofHouse Republican leaders and the White House. The PCG contingent stressed theimportance of the provision to the High Plains during meetings with CongressmenRandy Neugebauer and Charlie Stenholm earlier in the week.

      Besidesdisaster assistance, several other issues of importance to the High Plains werealso worked on during the trip. Included in PCG's issues list were the WorldTrade Organization agriculture negotiations; the appeal of the WTO disputepanel decision in the Brazil/Cotton case; Federal Crop Insurance deferredappraisal rules for non-emerged seed; and Farm Service Agency signatureauthority issues.

      ThePCG group discussed these issues during appointments with Senator John Cornyn,Ambassador Allen Johnson, USTR Chief Agriculture Negotiator; John Johnson, FSADeputy Administrator for Farm Programs; David Hatch, Associate AdministratorRisk Management Agency; Greg Thessen and Troy Joshua, National Ag StatisticsService; House Agriculture Committee staff; majority and minority staff of theSenate Agriculture Committee; and, Congressmen Henry Bonilla, Neugebauer,Stenholm and Mac Thornberry.

      "Froma timing standpoint, this week's trip to Washington worked out perfectly forthe PCG officers," notes PCG executive Vice President Steve Verett."During our meetings we were able to make a lot of progress on a number ofimportant cotton issues, and specifically on issues of importance to HighPlains cotton growers."

 

Commonsense Solution Avoids BW Quarantine
Problems for Panhandle Growers

Lubbock, October 1, 2004                         ByRoger Haldenby

      Texas Ag Commissioner SusanCombs has again demonstrated that her Department lives up to its missionstatement of providing efficient and extraordinary service.

      It's expected that thePanhandle Boll Weevil Eradication Zone will be declared to be in"suppressed" status sometime after the end of the 2004 growingseason.

      No boll weevils have beendetected in the zone in 2003 or 2004. In both the Northwest Plains and NorthernHigh Plains, boll weevils have been detected but at levels so low as to beinsignificant.

      However, under currentregulation movement of cotton modules to gins in the NWP and NHP Zones couldhave been severely restricted under quarantine regulations.

      Commissioner Combs and her staffhave demonstrated that TDA does not stand on bureaucracy, but rather works withflexibility in these issues to allow common sense to prevail.

      TDA has agreed to aquarantine compliance agreement for gins in the NWP and NHP zones to transportcotton from the Panhandle zone that achieves all the objectives of protectingthe integrity of boll weevil free areas without onerous requirements beingplaced on producers or ginners.

      Modules will be hauled ontrucks permitted by TDA under the rules of the approved compliance agreement. There will be no special cleaning requirements for trucks transporting modulesfrom a field in the Panhandle zone to the gin.

      However, if these trucks areused for transportation between quarantined and non-quarantined zones otherthan Panhandle, NWP or NHP zone, then normal procedures under quarantineregulations would apply.

 

TASS Ready To Conduct 2004 ARMS Survey

LUBBOCK, October 1, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Farmersand ranchers will soon be asked to participate in the 2004 AgriculturalResource Management Survey performed by the USDA National AgriculturalStatistics Service.

      Thedata collected is used in a variety of ways. Making sure the data collected isas accurate as possible means that ARMS results can be used to developbeneficial agricultural policy alternatives and also help prevent theimplementation of misguided policies that would be detrimental to agriculture.

      Policymakers,Cooperative Extension, grower associations, and consumers to understand theinteraction of the mechanisms that contribute to the production of a safe andabundant food and fiber supply use ARMS data.

      Producers who are contactedby a survey interviewer are encouraged to participate. Information collectedduring the survey is kept strictly confidential and is aggregated to avoiddisclosure of any individual information.